Using Racine in 1990; or, translating theatre in time
in Alan Hollinghurst
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This chapter reads Alan Hollinghurst's translations of Jean Racine (1639-1699), with particular emphasis on his 1990 translation of Racine's Bajazet (1672). It connects  Hollinghurst's translations of this violent and anomalous tragedy with a range of  artistic and theoretical work all from about 1990:  Tony Kushner's  translation of Corneille, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's  use of Racine to develop her theory of the closet and Derek Jarman's Racinian-inflected film adaptation of Marlowe's Edward II, among others. Situating Hollinghurst's Racine in this cluster of works makes him part of a cultural energy that can only be read as a deeply skeptical response to Francis Fukuyama’s 1989 declaration of 'the end of history'. Exploring the interplay between the specifics of Hollinghurst's translation and current theoretical work on queer temporality and theatrical time, the essay also connects Hollnghurst's  Bajazet to the  particularly intense phase of the AIDS epidemic with which it coincided and to cultural responses thereto.

Alan Hollinghurst

Writing under the influence

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